How to Manage Racing Thoughts and Idea Overload

How to Manage Racing Thoughts and Idea Overload

The best part and the worst part about having ADHD might be all of the thoughts and ideas that are generated, according to Dr. H. Racing thoughts and/or having an abundance of ideas is common for those with ADHD. But how do you manage all of them? Ned offers several suggestions for organizing your thoughts and keeping track of all of those great ideas. But he cautions listeners to recognize that you can’t accomplish every idea you have, so it’s important to prioritize them.

Keep listening after this episode for a special segment with Dr. Carol Locke, Ned’s friend and the founder of OmegaBrite Wellness for 5 ways to help manage stress. Learn more HERE. Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question for Dr. H that you’d like him to address in a future episode? Send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com, and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you for joining me today for a mini-episode. People love the mini-episodes because they’re quick, they’re short, and that’s the world we live in, quick and short and to the point. We received a question from a listener that I think many of our listeners will be able to relate to, so I wanted to share it with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It goes like this. “Hi there, Distraction team.” Smile.” Wanted to get advice on having lots of ideas. I wake up and meditate most mornings. So even if I get my mind quieted, it can still get racing and come up with lots and lots of good ideas. I write them down, but there are just so many that I end up feeling bad about not pursuing most of them, or they lead to the feeling of never achieving enough. I obviously need more self-acceptance, but any advice on how to best approach tackling large amounts of ideas and things to do? I use the TickTick app, and it’s great, but still doesn’t help with the output of my brain. Love the podcast. Kiran.” Well, Kiran, thank you very much for that note, and what you describe is the blessing and the curse of ADHD. The great thing about it is we have so much going on and the curse about it is we have so much going on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our brains I often compare to a popcorn machine, just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, ideas popping all the time. They come in bunches like bananas. We’re just surrounded by all these bananas and all these popped popcorns. Whatever analogy you want to use, we have an abundance of ideas, and you have to be grateful because contrast that to people who have what I call attention surplus disorder, they almost never have a new idea. They come by and see you surrounded by all these bananas and popcorn and they say, “Oh my gosh, where did all those come from? I never have any of those. I have no bananas and no popcorn.” And they just never, rarely, have a new idea. And you say to them, “Fine. Take them, please. I’ve got too many of them. I don’t know what to do with them.” So that’s one solution, is to share them with other people who need them and get a team of people to implement your ideas and share the credit for them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you grow my idea, I’ll share it with you. Because often those folks, the ones who can’t come up with new ideas, are good at growing them. They’re good at taking them and developing them and turning them into a business or turning them into a piece of art or turning them into a new line of clothing, or turning them into a well tilled garden. Whatever the project might happen to be, if you can find someone who’s good sweating details with attention surplus disorder, you and that person can make an excellent team. They can take your new ideas, sort through them, and they’re good at prioritizing while you’re not, you can dump 25 ideas on them and they’ll pick out the one or two that stand the best chance of succeeding, and then they’ll get to work on it. And you can just keep up more bananas and more popcorn, and just keep feeding your good attention surplus friend, partner your ideas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a really good recipe for success. Most of the successful adults I know who have ADD have someone, an admin assistant, a partner, a mate, a favorite employee, somebody who’s the chief implementer, the one who makes things happen and gets things done. And so that’s a really good team. As for you yourself, you’ve hit upon a very good strategy, which is writing things down. And once they’re written down, they don’t disappear. So even if you say, “God, I had a great idea. What was it?” Well, you can say, “Well, I’ll just look at my little journal where I keep my ideas in, my idea bin, and I’ll be able to retrieve it.” Be grateful that you have this copious, fertile, fecund imagination. Be grateful, but at the same time understand that you can’t do everything. Don’t become the victim of your own enthusiasm. Nobody can do everything. Nobody is obliged to do all that they could do. Just do enough to keep yourself satisfied and in the game, as I like to say.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
A great life is staying in the game until your life is over. The victories and the defeats will happen. They’re part of the game, but the definition of a great life I think is finding a game you love to play and then playing it until you can play it no more. That’s my answer to your question, Kiran. I hope it makes sense to you. I hope the rest of you will send us your questions and ideas, because we really love to get them. Keep listening after this episode for a new paid feature from our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. Dr. Carol Locke, the company’s founder, will share some key information about how Omega-3s, CBD, and other supplements can help with issues like anxiety, inflammation, depression, and a host of other issues.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Remember to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas. Send an email or a voice memo to [email protected], and check us out on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’re trying to build a new presence there, so please help us do that. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson with two Ss. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Goodbye for now.

Dr. Carol Locke:
This is Dr. Carol Locke, and I am here with five ways to reduce stress. It’s going to be a tough week that we’re facing with the election on top of everything else. So here are five easy things that you can do to reduce stress and get through any tough time. Number one is get up and move. Moving is so important. It activates the brain and it releases BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor, which increases our brain’s ability to connect to new learning, to neuroplasticity, reduces depression, anxiety, and increases your resilience. Number two is compassionate mindfulness. This is an exercise where you close your eyes, and then you imagine someone that you have a very positive relationship with. And then you imagine you’re sending good will, good wishes to help them through some difficult obstacle in their life. We know from research done at University of Wisconsin that increasing our ability to have compassion, feel compassion and caring, increases our overall sense of well-being and positivity.

Dr. Carol Locke:
Number three is limit social media. How can you do that? Well, if you’re on Twitter all the time, you can take Twitter off your phone. This will make you have to go to your computer to check and you can set a time that you need to check. If you’re just checking other social media, you can set a time each day that you’ll check in with social media and the news and check out. Number four is laughter. Laughing is super important. It increases the blood flow to your brain, relaxes your body, and causes a release of oxytocin, the feel good hormone that gives you a tremendous sense of well-being. So schedule a time to laugh every day. Number five is you can take a supplement called OmegaBrite. OmegaBrite is an Omega-3, high EPA supplement that I developed while I was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. OmegaBrite has been shown to reduce anxiety by 20% in healthy adults in a double blind placebo controlled trial by Ohio State. So this is an important way that you can add health and reduce your anxiety, reduce your stress every day, by simply taking OmegaBrite.

Dr. Carol Locke:
If you’d like to learn more about these five ways of reducing stress or about the study on OmegaBrite by Ohio State, you can go to our website at omegabritewellness.com/reduced stress. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E wellness.com/reduced stress. This is Dr. Carol Locke. Stay safe, stay well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at OmegaBrite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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